It’s that time of year again! Whether visiting friends, family or escaping to the bach, if you’re planning on joining the mass exodus heading out of town, a little bit of forward planning never goes astray. Planning your perfect road trip can be an exhausting ordeal, but we're here to help.
Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained
Regular servicing is the key. It’s not just an oil change and filter, but an extra pair of eyes over your vehicle to point out and warn you of any potential failings to ensure vehicle longevity. Vehicle maintenance also includes checking and replacement of air and fuel filters, brake, transmission, cooling system and driveline fluids, which will all require replacement at some stage of the vehicle’s life.
If you don’t require a service but want the assurance your vehicle will get you from A to B, consider a pre-trip safety inspection. This includes giving the vehicle a once-over to ensure it’s safe, checking items such as lights, drive belt condition and adjustment and worn or leaking cooling hoses. Critical items like steering, tyres, brakes and seatbelts are also scrutinised to make sure that it would at least pass a WoF. AA Members can receive a 16-point check for free ($19 for non-Members). Visit aa.co.nz/safetycheck for further information.
Make sure you have a car charger and cable suitable for your phone. Smartphones are brilliant for using the GPS (if the car doesn’t have it), checking in with the family, letting the Instagram community know just what you are up to at every step of the trip. Nothing spells stress more than having less than 5% battery life and finding yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere!
Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during peak daytime travelling times. If possible leave early or wait till later in the evening to avoid holiday congestion (especially on Boxing Day). To avoid panic ensure you have enough fuel in the tank, you never know when you’ll have an unplanned detour either for a bit of spontaneous fun or due to a road hazard.
If case of an emergency, it also pays to carry the following:
- A first aid kit
- Blanket and an umbrella
- Blade and a life hammer
- Hi-Vis jacket
Stay awake and alert
To help stay fresh, hydrated and alert, pop an ice-filled chilly bin in the car, it doesn’t have to be big but just enough to keep drinks and food cold. Chewing gum is also a handy tip as the repetitive process increases circulation and alertness.
Put your favourite music together in a playlist, try to keep it upbeat to keep your mind active on those long haul drives. You don’t want to be so relaxed that you risk nodding off.
Take a break every two or so hours get out and stretch those legs, it also helps give the mind a rest from driving concentration.
Make sure you are rested before heading off, a good sleep the night before is important and avoid driving while hungover! It’s never fun for anyone.
New Zealand has some stunning scenery and historic places of interest to visit. Take some time to plan your journey and include some sightseeing, not only will it break up a long trip, you’ll most likely learn a thing or two about this amazing country. It doesn’t all have to be about the destination, the journey can also be fun along the way. Visit aa.co.nz/travel for some inspiration.